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Elizabeth

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L'Appart audiobook cover art

Too little Paris, too much reno hell

Overall
3 out of 5 stars
Performance
4 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 11-16-17

The title says it all: The nightmare story of the author's expensive renovation "disaster"--replete with an astonishingly inept and irresponsible contractor/antagonist--overwhelmed any "delights" promised in the book's title. The meager recipes sprinkled through the book seemed desperate and incongruous and did little in the end to compensate for the dust, disappointment, and chaos.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Swimming Lessons audiobook cover art

Gets Better and Better

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-15-17

Didn't think I was going to like this one at first but found myself falling under the author's spell and allowing myself to be transported by this unusual novel. The writing is lyrical and intelligent, and the narration adds fundamentally to the book's emotional resonance.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Term Limits audiobook cover art

Loved the narrator

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-19-16

A thoroughly engrossing political thriller. Can't imagine a better narrator than Nick Sullivan, who voiced each character with consummate skill.

Lab Girl audiobook cover art

A paradigm-shifting perspective on plant life

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-20-16

Although initially annoyed by the author's somewhat languid reading style, I gradually came to appreciate her authenticity and honesty and--most of all--the way she utterly transformed my view of the natural world (and especially trees). Her memoir is at once a coming of age story about a driven young female scientist battling for relevance in a patriarchal profession, a love story between the protagonist and her best friend and colleague, and a passionate and scientifically precise guide to the "secret lives" of trees and other plant life, which are far more fascinating than I'd been led to believe. Now when I look out my window (as the author invites readers to do early on in the book), what I see is not just trees, but the outward manifestation of hundreds of millions of years of evolution, a struggle for survival on a monumental scale, and unimaginably complex processes, communications, and interactions about which most humans have no clue. I ended up listening to the entire book twice and parts of it multiple times (just so I could remember the astonishing data the author provides on trees).

39 of 39 people found this review helpful

The Rosie Effect audiobook cover art

The bad reviews are true, alas....

Overall
1 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
1 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 01-01-15

This second installment of Simsion's "Rosie" series lacks everything that made the first book ("The Rosie Project") enjoyable--namely likeable and original characters, insights on Asperger's syndrome, and a romantic and suspenseful plot. It's a perfect example of what happens when a one-off author is pressured by a publisher to produce a sequel and has nothing to say or give. I'd read all the negative reviews of "The Rosie Effect," but went ahead and ordered it anyway....a complete waste of a credit.

44 of 50 people found this review helpful

The Rosie Project audiobook cover art

Best book I've read in years!

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 12-23-14

It's exceedingly rare to find a novel like this one that's well-plotted, suspenseful, offers unique and engaging characters--and is also hilarious. The audible version is further enhanced by the acting gifts and intonation of the narrator, who's perfect for depicting a main character who's burdened (or is it gifted?) with Aspergers Syndrome. Although touted as a romantic comedy, "The Rosie Project" is ultimately about the communication problems we ALL encounter as the result of the extraordinary complexity of human social conventions. What I loved most about the book is its subtle yet powerful optimism about our ability to re-engineer even our most deeply engrained and/or genetically wired coping mechanisms when they no longer work for us.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

The Last Chinese Chef audiobook cover art

Taste Sensation

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 05-01-14

This is my favorite audiobook in a great while. What captivated me most are the author's sumptuous and learned descriptions of true Chinese cuisine, which is highly sophisticated in its cultural meanings, ingredients, and preparation. The narration is beautifuly realized, and the love story is handled with unusual sensitivity (no soft-porn passages, thankfully). I felt at the end a much greater appreciation for both Chinese culture and its wondrously complex food.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

One Year Lived audiobook cover art

Annoying & Immature

Overall
2 out of 5 stars
Performance
2 out of 5 stars
Story
2 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 09-01-13

I'm a sucker for travel memoirs but couldn't wait to get rid of this narrator, who's a decent writer but almost completely lacking in sophistication and insight. Traveling all over the globe, as this book demonstrates, doesn't necessarily mean being deepened or transformed in any substantive way by the experience.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

The Practicing Mind audiobook cover art

Simple & Profound

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
5 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 06-29-13

I tend to be bitterly disappointed by self-help books but decided to try this one when events and challenges in my life began to get the best of me. Inspired by one of the reviews about the power of Sterner's ideas, I purchased the audiobook. Today I'm so happy I did so. The book is definitely a keeper, and I plan to listen to it over and over again until cultivation of "the practicing mind" replaces the habit of self-judgment and fear of failure. With the author's clear explaination of how ego-driven thought patterns sabotage our efforts and his message about "the simplicity of doing one thing at a time...slowly, with purpose," he shows how focusing on either "success" or "failure" causes suffering.

103 of 107 people found this review helpful

Almost French audiobook cover art

Almost Terrific

Overall
5 out of 5 stars
Performance
3 out of 5 stars
Story
5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed: 02-05-13

In contrast to some reviewers of this book who compared it negatively to Mayles, etc., I found it authentic, well-written, and rich in cutural details about Parisians and life in Paris. While similar "memoirs" of Paris supplement their meager content with recipes and cooking instructions, Turnbull attempts to offer readers a dimensional portrait of the city and its people, including, for instance, details about French antipathy toward "Anglo-Saxon" feminism, the City of Light's love affair with dogs, and the extended time required to befriend Parisians. My ONLY issue with the audio version is the reader's strange combination of annoying accent and knowing attitude. With another reader this book might have earned five stars all around.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful